How to get the best work from your contractor


Remodeling is often done by contractors, whether by a general contractor or someone else. However, if you want to accomplish what you are going for, you need to be active during the process. This is the only way in which you can get the best work from your contractor.

But this is easier said than done. There are a lot of details that you need to keep your eyes on, and there are some things you have to do if you don't want to get in conflict with your contractor. So, make sure to stick with us to the end, so you can get your work done exactly as you intended, whether you are building an impressive closet, or simply renovating a home.

Try to avoid allowances

An allowance is simply an item in your contractor's bid for something that is yet to be determined. There is no need for that.

With such a range of prices, an estimate of your contractor may warry significantly, ultimately meaning that you'll have to pay far more than you have expected.

So, if you want to avoid allowances, make sure to select in advance products and materials before the contractor gives you an itemized bid for the job. Or, do enough shopping so you can give an accurate base from which your contractor may proceed with work.

Make sure to have a good communication

You and your contractor have to communicate at all times. You have to know how you can communicate with your contractor.

If you want to get the best work from your contractor, you have to communicate.

There are several ways in which you can do that, some of which include:

  • Keeping in touch through the cellphone. Make sure to have your contractor's number and know when is the right time for a call.

  • You can communicate with the job foreman every day at a pre-determined time.

  • Also, you can be onsite every day at the arranged time, and check the progress yourself.

Know every change

Make sure to check the work of your contractor every day. Although you will be communicating with your contractor, it is better to see the work yourself.

The best time to check the progress is when the work is done for the day. Also, it would be a good idea to keep a journal. Make sure to write everything that has been done and every change.

It would be a good idea if you could keep a journal of your contractor's work.

Pay only when the work is done

The remodeling contract should include a series of payments. However, all of those payments need to be done only when the work is done. No reasonable contractor will make a contract that stipulates that you have to pay in the midst of the work, or before the work. Make sure that the contract says that you only have to pay once the certain work has been finished. 

Otherwise, you should stay away from the contractor that asks you to make your payments in advance, as you won't have the guarantee the what has been stipulated in the contract is going to be done at all.

Don't be afraid to ask questions

The work is being done with your money, so you keep yourself informed about your contractor's work. However, many people are too "decent" or afraid to ask some uneasy questions. Of course, that doesn't mean that you should be annoying and ask anything that comes to your mind. You should prepare questions in advance, so you can get the answers you need.

Can you itemize your bid?

Some contractors give a bottom-line price for the project. While that is totally valid, there is no way to know what you are being charged for if you don't ask. You need to know how much they are charging for what, so you won't be in a dark about the work.

Try to get an itemized bid. Your itemized bid should include and explain next elements:

  • Tiling or other floor covering installations

  • Electrical work

  • HVAC

  • Drywall and painting

  • Demolition and hauling trash

  • Framing and finish carpentry

  • Plumbing and plumbing costs

  • Lighting fixtures

By having this, you can compare different contractors' prices. Keep in mind that different kinds of contractors have different prices. For example, a renovation contractor is going to cost you differently than a tiling contractor. Also, if you wish to cut some costs, you'll have a list of what you can do about it.

Is your bid an estimate?

Some contractors prefer to have their bids as estimates. If that is the case, the end price may be higher than you have expected. This is why you should opt for a fixed-price bid.

However, your contractor may tell you that there are many unknowns and that it is impossible to give a fixed price. In that case, you should try to eliminate all unknowns.

For how long you are in business?

It is important to know who you are dealing with. There are many misconceptions about home improvements, and the way you hire contractors is one of them. Sure, if someone has not been in business for a long time, that doesn't necessarily mean that he is a bad contractor.

For how long has someone been a contractor, shouldn't make a difference. However, it would be good to know.

However, it is always a good idea to have someone with experience do the job for you. Also, a contractor who has been working for some time has made some connections. That way the contractor has to maintain a reputation he or she already has.

Who are your suppliers?

As we already mentioned, good contractors will have a network of suppliers. Your contractor shouldn't have any problems telling you where he gets materials.

If your contractor struggles to tell you exactly where does he gets his materials, this is a sign that you should stay away from that contractor.

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